Lubell & Rosen defend physicians from medical malpractice claims
Defense case: Rather than consider an embolism, the doctors were concerned about heart failure. Miller suffered a heart attack five years earlier, and she was obese. Both Dawkins and the cardiologist had been monitoring her heart health for years.
Dr. Kevin Inwood, an internist in Jupiter, was the expert witness for Dawkins. He said normal indicators for a pulmonary embolism were not present. These include chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing up blood.
Ten minutes after the morning fainting episode, a paramedic tested for oxygen saturation. Miller scored 99 out of 100, a near perfect mark.
"If she was suffering a pulmonary embolism, you would think you would get a score below normal," Lubell said. "Four different specialists saw this patient. All four are very familiar with pulmonary embolism. They treat it, deal with it on a daily basis and none of the four doctors thought pulmonary embolism was even a possibility."
In fact, her tests kept leading the doctors to suspect heart trouble as she was releasing enzymes typically produced by a stressed heart, Lubell said.
Outcome: The jury deliberated for 45 minutes before finding no liability.
Comments: "We're still not sure the pulmonary embolism caused the fainting, only that it caused the death," Lubell said.
Post-settlement: The defense offered a pretrial settlement proposal that was rejected. On that basis, the defense has a motion pending for attorney fees and costs. The plaintiff's deadline to file an appeal has expired. "They're not going to appeal," Lubell said.